In Episode 3 we ventured away from the ‘big 2’ into a superhero originating from the catalogue of Archie Comics; The Fly. To help us in our journey, it was our honour that Matthew B Lloyd was able to join us.
As they’re a lesser-known company it only seems fair to give a background to the company itself.
Archie started in 1939 as MLJ, named after its three founders; Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit and John Goldwater. Some of their big characters may look familiar to those of us not aware of their line up. ‘The Shield’ for example was a patriotic US superhero who appeared months before Captain America. However MLJ failed to capitalise on these characters and in the ’40s started to drop their superhero line up, focusing on teen humour. In 1946 the company was then renamed for its main character, Archie Andrews.
The Fly was a creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, already a big name duo in the comics industry. First published by Archie in 1959 as part of its Archie Adventure Series, it was an attempt to start a revival of a superhero line up.
Tommy Troy, an orphan, was living with an elderly couple, Ben (Ezra from issue 2) and Abigail. One night he goes up to the attic, finds an old ring and tries it on. It soon becomes clear the old couple are, in fact, wizards.
As Tommy put the ring on it summoned Turan, a powerful being from the fly dimension. Turan explained that Earth was long ruled over by the Fly People, but an all-out war had forced them to leave. Turan was now back, willing to grant the powers to one person as Earths protector.
All Tommy had to do was rub the ring, and he would swap bodies with a powerful being from the fly dimension. (Being unique as he didn’t get the powers himself).
Initially, the led to limited powers; Agility, ability to see in all directions and being able to walk up walls. As the stories progressed he gained more powers, being more like the insect world as a whole. He had the strength of an army of ants, the ability to create a protective cacoon and burying like a termite.
A little help from friends
Tommy wasn’t alone in his fight against evil for long.
Kim Brand was an actress who fell in love with our superhero after he saved her life. One day, Turan appeared before her saying The Fly was in trouble. He gave Kim a second ring, telling her he needed help. This gave her the ability to swap with another fly person, becoming FlyGirl.
Another close friend and ally was Ralph Hardy, a zoologist. On a dig in Peru, he found a mysterious belt with a jaguar emblem on its buckle. Hardy put the belt on and was instantly transformed into ‘The Jaguar’, a hero with powers representative of the animal kingdom as a whole.
Comings and goings
Along with many other Archie superheroes, The Fly has had a rather rocky publishing history. Adventures of the Fly ran for 30 issues, ending in 1964, then being pushed into occasional appearances in other titles. In 1965 he then had a short run as Fly-Man, part of Mighty Comics Group.
In 1983, he then had another outing, with 9 issues in Red Circle Comics. His final outing was part of DCs ‘impact comics’ line up, an overall revamp of the Archie superhero line up. This ran for 17 issues in 1991-1992, changing some of the backstories but mostly keeping the character intact.
In 1999, Joe Simon regained copyright to The Fly. Since then, he has rested in his cacoon, not to be seen of.
This is only a brief look at a character we may return to in the future. Hopefully, it has given everyone a good starting point and maybe the urge to read some of the comics.
But what about the controversy?! OK so its a bit long and will have a post of its own, coming soon.
Let us know who you’d like us to talk about next!